ORLANDO, FLA.: Cavaliers rookie Kyrie Irving came to All-Star weekend as the No. 1 pick in the draft. He left a budding star.
Irving was eliminated in the first round of the Skills Challenge and finished last as part of All-Star Saturday night, but Irving agreed his 34-point performance Friday that earned him the Most Valuable Player award in the Rising Stars game was his way of introducing himself to the rest of the NBA.
“We’re not televised as much as everybody else,” Irving said. “Here I got a chance to showcase my talents a little bit.”
Irving’s performance was so dazzling Friday that LeBron James began to refer to him as a future hall of famer before correcting himself.
“He was amazing. He proved why he was supposed to be in that game, he proved why he’s a future hall, uh, All-Star,” James said. “If he keeps on progressing as he is now, he’ll be a future hall of famer as well.”
San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker won the Skills Competition.
Parker was the only one of six participants to break 30 seconds in the first round (29.2) and his time of 32.8 in the final run on the obstacle course was better than Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (34.6) and New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams (41.4).
Slam Dunk Contest
Utah Jazz forward Jeremy Evans won the Slam Dunk Contest.
Evans, who got into the competition as a replacement for injured New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert, earned 29 percent of 3 million text-message votes cast by fans.
This was the first year that fans had total control of voting, a major tweak from past competitions.
Evans earned the win over Houston Rockets forward Chase Budinger, Indiana Pacers forward Paul George and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Derrick Williams.
Evans dunked with a camera on his head, dunked two basketballs while jumping over a seated assistant and then donned a Karl Malone jersey while dunking over mailman-dressed comedian Kevin Hart.
Timberwolves forward Kevin Love won the 3-point Shootout.
Love was consistent throughout, but had to survive a tiebreaker in the first round and sweat out the last few shots from Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant to pull out the 17-14 victory in the final.
Love tied for third in Round 1 with 18, along with Miami Heat guard Mario Chalmers, but beat him 5-4 in a tiebreaker. Defending champion James Jones led all shooters in the opening round with 22, and Durant was next with 20.
Team New York had the touch from outside and won the Shooting Stars event to open the NBA’s All-Star Saturday night festivities.
Former Knicks star Allan Houston nailed his third attempt at a half-court shot to give his team consisting of current Knicks guard Landry Fields and Cappie Pondexter of the WNBA’s New York Liberty the victory.